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does this type of behavior mean?
Should I be making some other plans...?"
This column answers
questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
who will forward them to our coaches all over the world. Each issue,
we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
I'm dating this guy, 48 years old, divorced 4 years. We've been dating
for almost 5 months. We've had great dates, traveled together, met
parents, and spent time with each other's friends. The chemistry is
great! We're both on the path to commitment – yes, we want to
get married – or at least that's the plan. There's only one
problem. I have to plan everything we do.
I feel like "Julie, the Cruise Director" on that 70's show, The Love
Boat. If there's anything we do together – dinner, movies,
anything – it's always up to me to come up with the ideas,
the plans, everything. The only thing I don't usually do is do the
driving! At first, it seemed sweet when he would say, "Melissa, why
don't you plan something – something you really want."
I do ask him to plan things, but his response is some rendition on,
"But, Melissa, you do these things much better than me. Why don't you
pick out the restaurant (or whatever), that you'd like. I know I'll
love it." And on and on.
I'm not sure what I am – his mate or his mother? What should
I do? Is this a red flag? What does this type of behavior mean? Should
I be making some other plans … like for a future without
him? Do you think this is a problem or am I just not enjoying
the freedom and openness that this relationship is affording
me? I'm confused – is this a good thing or a bad
thing in a relationship?
Melissa from Madison
Although you have been dating this person for five months, already a
pattern has emerged regarding his behavior. You say the chemistry is
great, and many people confuse chemistry with love. This leaves people
feeling somewhat deflated when the initial rush fades and they are left
with the reality of what they truly feel for the other person.
It is often said that "love is blind." This refers to the initial
period where chemistry is strong and you are unable to make good
decisions and this could be an indicator of where this relationship is
You mention that the plan is to get married, what does the marriage
look like? What goals do you share for your life together? You say that
you both want to get married. Have you asked yourself if you want to
get married to each other? How do you know after only 5 months? Do you
want to spend the rest of your life with this person exactly as they
are? These are a few suggested questions that you might want to
The lack of being able to plan could indicate that he is unable to make
decisions, which could have implications for other matters further down
the road. It might be worth suggesting that he plans something with you
to see how he manages that and then ask him to plan a surprise activity
for you so you have an excuse for not being involved at all. This will
give you an idea of whether or not he is capable of planning an
activity, or if he lacks the skills required to pull it all together.
You mention that the relationship offers you freedom and openness. If
by this you mean the opportunity to be the one who makes all the
choices and this suits you, then there is no problem. On the other
hand, if you prefer to have someone who shares the decisions and is
able to be a creative partner in making choices, then this is a problem.
Maeve Crawford | www.love2learn2love.co.uk
When getting to know someone in a dating or romantic relationship, it
is imperative to understand your requirements, needs, and wants. If
equal planning is on one of those lists, you know where it fits in
overall importance to you in having a fulfilling relationship
– and one that's built to last!
Requirements are the absolute, black and white, non-negotiables. Often
referred to as "deal breakers," requirements are those things that,
when not met, would cause you to walk away from someone. Since you're
talking marriage, it is important you know what your requirements are.
Often, talking with a relationship coach brings clarity to next steps
and decision making.
It's important you're clear in your communication with him. If this
really bothers you, you need to ask yourself what would satisfy you.
Rather than simply asking him to help plan things, be sure you let him
know why you would like him to do so – how it makes you feel
and exactly what you would like him to do. And, be sure to ask him why
he prefers you do all the planning. Try to reach common ground
– something you're both comfortable with and can agree to.
When you truly know your vision for a relationship, your requirements,
needs and wants, you will have your answers.
Ann Robbins | www.lifeworksmatchmaking.com
There's nothing wrong with your partner's style, but it may be wrong
for you. It sounds as if you are through the early dating phase when
sparks are flying and stomachs swirling. You may have arrived at the
part of the process where you are moving beyond introductory chemistry
and seeing clearly other traits that need testing.
It's common that curiosities you found endearing at first evolve into
the same traits that make you want to run for the hills. If in 5
month's time you're starting to question, then take a hard look at
where shared social planning falls as a priority for you. Do you
require that your partner contribute? If you've been clear about your
preference for reciprocity, and none is coming back, then will you
gladly assume this role alone? If not, and if no help from your partner
is likely, then this could be a proverbial dealbreaker.
Also, why is your partner so unmotivated? Did he ever plan something
that you criticized? If so, then you may have a role in his behavior.
Are you so good at planning that he feels his efforts would pale in
comparison, so insecurity is at play? Or, is he just a laid back guy, a
passenger rather than driver, who doesn't feel the need to pursue
planning couple time? Whatever the case, you've described this as a
problem. It sounds as if you need a solution that will bring you
reciprocity, unless life as "Julie" really suits you.
Lisa Manyoky | www.maverickinspired.com
This coach would say, "Don't panic." This is life and provides a
perfect opportunity for you to practice requesting a change in his
behavior. First, ask him when a good time to talk would be, and that
you have something about yourself that you'd like to discuss with him.
Then, simply explain how much you would like him to participate in
planning events – big or small – and ask if he
would be willing to do that. He may share his reasons for not doing it
in the past, and by sincere listening both ways, you both may learn
something new about each other. In any case you've expressed how
important it is to you, and you can gradually begin to work it out.
Your letter reveals that you do have a strong foundation already in
place, and this could be a chance to become even closer!
Candace Brindley | www.Rich-Relationships.com
I am wondering whether your boyfriend has difficulty making decisions
in general, or perhaps his job requires him to make so many decisions
that he just wants a break in his personal life. There may be any
number of reasons why he doesn't seem to want to take the lead in
planning your dates, and he is the only one who knows the answer.
Communication is key in any relationship. Have you asked him why he
keeps deferring the planning to you? Have you let him know that your
preference is to share in it? How important is this issue for you? If
he refuses to participate in planning, can you live with that or do you
prefer a partner who will take the planning lead at times? There are no
right or wrong answers in relationships; only what is right or wrong
It sounds like you are in sync in other parts of your relationship.
Talk about this and see if you can reach a compromise that works for
both of you. Good luck.
Sheryl Spangler | www.heartandsoulmatchmaking.com
This month, I interviewed
Katherin Scott about dating venues -- places where singles meet
singles. Understanding their importance, selecting those that are right
for you, and taking action are important when searching for the love of
Kachaturoff: What's a dating venue?
Simply defined, a dating venue is a place where singles can go to meet
What are the different kinds of dating venues?
Realistically, any location has the potential to be a dating venue. The
key is to get up off the couch and out of your house with the intention
of meeting other singles. Singles can meet at public places such as
coffee shops, fairs, or even the grocery store.
Generic singles settings
also provide a place to meet. These might include online dating sites,
speed dating events and singles dances.
Many singles meet at
special interest settings such as professional networking associations,
places of worship, sporting clubs, workshops and classes. Regardless of
the setting, figure out what you're most interested in or passionate
about and then spend time in those venues getting to know like-minded
How can singles find the right venues for them?
Singles can increase their chances of meeting potential partners when
they frequent venues where like-minded people spend time. In these
settings, you not only have one or more interests in common, you most
likely share important values, a common life purpose, lifestyle and
community. The odds are further increased when the venues (clubs,
organizations, etc.) are also specifically intended for singles to
Nowadays, there are more places than ever to meet people, both online
and off, yet many singles still hold onto the perception that they
can't find places to meet other singles. Why do you think they have
Unfortunately, this "scarcity perception" only creates more scarcity in
a person's mind and in their life. I think this mindset is created over
time when someone hasn't felt successful dating or meeting people.
Interestingly, for every place someone believes they can't meet anyone
to date, I know I can find multiple couples who will tell me they met
at that exact place!
My suggestion is to be
more open-minded to the possibilities of meeting someone special and to
realize the only constant at every venue is YOU! It's the Law of
Attraction in action. If you think you can meet someone, you will, and
if you think you can't, you won't. Create the mindset: "It's a candy
store out there!" with lots and lots of wonderful singles just looking
to meet you!
In your opinion, where do you think the best places are for singles to
connect with one another?
Venues, events, clubs and organizations that share your beliefs, values
and interests AND are for singles are potentially the best places to
meet a good match. For example, if you like to hike and spend time
outdoors, join an outdoor hiking club and get involved with their
If you like to sail, join
a singles sailing club. For church-goers, join your church's singles
group. Here's the key: if your favorite organization doesn't have an
established singles group, take the initiative to create one! Don't
just stand by passively and whine about it. Be proactive. The best part
of being the creator of a group is that you will get to meet everyone
If you do join a
pre-existing club for singles, get involved. Become part of the
membership or welcome committee. You'll have the opportunity to meet
everyone and, since it's your responsibility to meet and greet, you
will feel more confident in approaching people you haven't yet met.
Are there any places singles should avoid?
I don't recommend
singles look for love in bars or noisy clubs. The chances are
statistically low for a successful long-term relationship to come about
after meeting someone in a bar.
Gender-specific venues may not be optimum for meeting someone of the
opposite sex to date. For example, if you're a woman who loves to
quilt, don't expect to meet your life partner at the quilting club,
unless the love of your life is another woman. However, if you're a man
who likes to quilt, definitely join a quilting club as the odds are
very high that you will be the only man in the group.
And, I recommend singles
avoid places where others don't share key interests and values. If you
hate to travel, a travel club is not a good venue to frequent. If you
don't like the outdoors, don't join a hiking club even if it's
specifically for singles.
If one of your clients asked you, "Where can I find other singles to
meet?" what would you say?
My response is to first ask if they've taken the time to define their
"must-have's" for a successful relationship. If they've done the work
to understand their specific relationship requirements, I encourage
them to frequent places where like-minded people go, especially
I also encourage singles
to get involved with online dating. Online dating is a very successful
venue for meeting quality singles, especially when they've taken the
time to define their relationship requirements. If a person hasn't had
success with online dating, I encourage them to hire a coach to help
them with their profile. Just like a resume, it's important to know how
to write your profile so it attracts the type of person you're looking
What are some of the most interesting or unique places where someone
met the love of their life?
My father once said "Love is geographical. Wherever you go, you can
find love." I agree. When you're ready and available for love, you can
find the love of your life in the most interesting place.
I've heard of singles
meeting at funerals, car accidents and even during a lightning storm.
One woman I know took a cruise that she believed was specifically for
singles, but was actually for seniors! Because she had such a great
attitude about the situation, one of the elderly couples introduced her
to their grandson after the cruise and, yes, they are now married! Keep
an open mind and a positive attitude and who knows how love will find
its way to you!
Responses Copyright ©2010 by Kartherin Scott. All rights
reserved in all media.
MA, is a dating coach, speaker and author of "ABC's of Dating: Simple
Strategies for Dating Success." As an internationally recognized
authority on dating and attracting love, Katherin coaches singles
worldwide and regularly conducts seminars and workshops to help people
empower themselves to find love and happiness. www.KatherinScott.com
By Dr. Jerald Young
We've all heard it
before. "Forgive and forget." "Turn the other cheek." "Forgive them for
they know not what they do." "To err is human, to forgive divine."
This is all
well-intentioned advice, I'm sure. However, while it might look good on
paper, or sound good in a sermon, forgiveness is not that simple for
mortal human beings. Nike's slogan, "Just Do It," may work on the
playing field, but it does not work in the field of human
relationships, especially when dealing with divorce.
Fundamental Difficulty in Forgiving Your Ex
I don't know about you,
but when I got divorced, these socially appropriate prescriptions for
what I "should" do could not have been further from my mind. I felt
angry, resentful, abandoned, apprehensive, disconsolate, frightened,
furious, hurt, and overwhelmed, among others. Well-meaning advice
telling me simply to forget it, forgive her, and move on was silly.
However, that was all I heard!
recovery from divorce, is a life transition. It takes time. Likewise,
letting go of our attachments to how things used to be takes time. This
includes our attachments, both positive and negative, to our ex.
Letting go of the emotional ties to another is not an act of logic, and
can't be accomplished by making a rational decision.
More Helpful, and Humane, Approach to Forgiveness
Then I discovered a book
by two educators and psychologists, Sydney and Suzanne Simon, entitled
"How to Make Peace with Your Past and Get on with Your Life." This book
puts a human touch to forgiveness. It removed my guilt about not being
able to make the simple decision to "forgive" my ex. For the first time
I had a way to think about forgiveness that was truly useful. Their
book laid out what forgiveness is, and what it is not, and in the
process, pointed out the way to let go of the past so we can get on
with our lives.
Forgiveness Is NOT
Simon and Simon point out
that what all major religious traditions tell us about forgiveness is
not scientifically true. That is, forgiveness is NOT (1) a Clear-Cut,
One-Time Decision that is usually communicated by some form of (2)
Public Pronouncement, preferably to the ex, in which we acknowledge a
degree of (3) Self Sacrifice by promising to (4) Forget what was done
to us, and offer (5) Absolution to the perpetrator, while in the
process giving the impression that we actually (6) Condone what they
On the other hand, they
tell us that Forgiveness IS (1) the By-Product of an 2) Ongoing,
Internal, Healing Process in which, over time, we Let Go of the intense
Emotions attached to incidents from our past with our ex.
Some outcomes of this
"letting go" include the recognition that we no longer need our
grudges, resentments, hatred, and self pity. In addition, we no longer
want to punish our ex who hurt us because we realize that nothing we do
to punish our ex will heal us. That is, it is an "inside job."
This Means for You and Me
Some consequences of
treating forgiveness as the by-product of an ongoing healing process
include: (1) Don't expect forgiveness to come all at once. The negative
feelings will linger until they are "dissolved away." (2) We must take
personal responsibility to engage in the healing process. Time alone
will not do it. Making a public, or private, declaration will not do
it. (3) Well-meaning people will tell you to do stuff concerning
forgiveness, and how you feel about your ex, that is just wrong. We
must courteously ignore them while we go about healing ourselves.
The good news is, if we
"do the work" required to heal from the pain of the divorce transition,
one day we will wake up and realize it has been days or weeks since we
had any strong feelings about our ex. This means forgiveness is
Copyright ©2010 by Jerald Young, Ph.D.. All Rights Reserved
for all media.
Young, Ph.D., is a divorce
recovery and relationship coach dedicated to helping his clients avoid
the demoralizing "second divorce" (or third). He helps clients release
their last relationship and prepare for a new one that will last. He's
the author of the forthcoming book, "The Book on Divorce Recovery." www.SmoothDivorceRecovery.com
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